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Which would you say?
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:19 am Reply with quote
Bridget
 
Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 77


Which would you say "immerse into water" or "immerse in water"?
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Re: Which would you say?
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2007 9:58 pm Reply with quote
darkdesign
 
Joined: 30 Nov 2006
Posts: 11


Bridget wrote:
Which would you say "immerse into water" or "immerse in water"?


Immerse in water.

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Re: Which would you say?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:48 am Reply with quote
Bridget
 
Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 77


darkdesign wrote:
Bridget wrote:
Which would you say "immerse into water" or "immerse in water"?


Immerse in water.


Thanks.
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Re: Which would you say?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 1:39 am Reply with quote
Bloomer
 
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 136
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA


darkdesign wrote:
Immerse in water.


I concur.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 10:23 am Reply with quote
thegooseking
 
Joined: 10 Sep 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland


Grammatically, the prepositions 'in' and 'into' are interchangeable when used with intransitive verbs that describe movement, whereas with intransitive verbs that do not describe movement, only 'in' is acceptable.

That's the grammatical position as I understand it, but it's somehow not satisfying. Certainly one would never use 'into' with a verb that does not describe movement, but it's the other half, about them being interchangeable, that bothers me.

Just as "immerse into water", while acceptable under the conditions of this rule, sounds a little awkward, I would say the same about "go in the house" - 'into' seems more natural in that case.

Possibly it's a peculiarity of the verb 'immerse' (which isn't to say there aren't many other verbs which have the same quality). When you immerse something in water, you are moving it from out of the water to in the water, so there is movement described there, but the point of the verb isn't "moving it into the water", but "causing it to be in the water". When you immerse something, you are changing its location, but that's not salient; what's important is that you're changing its state. With that in mind, the preposition which relates to movement may be inappropriate.

Another example would be "he fell in the water" versus "he fell into the water". Both of these sound perfectly natural, but there is a subtle difference in what either of the sentences is saying. "He fell in the water" would probably place emphasis on the fact that he fell, with "in the water" just being extra description. What's salient about "He fell into the water," on the other hand, is more likely that he ended up in the water (i.e. moved from being out of the water to in the water), with the verb 'fell' just being a description of how he got there.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:38 am Reply with quote
Bloomer
 
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 136
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA


thegooseking wrote:
Possibly it's a peculiarity of the verb 'immerse' (which isn't to say there aren't many other verbs which have the same quality). When you immerse something in water, you are moving it from out of the water to in the water, so there is movement described there, but the point of the verb isn't "moving it into the water", but "causing it to be in the water". When you immerse something, you are changing its location, but that's not salient; what's important is that you're changing its state. With that in mind, the preposition which relates to movement may be inappropriate.

It has to do with the verb. Check out etymonline: from L. in- "into" + mergere "plunge, dip" where the meaning of "immerse" already has the sense of "in/to" contained. Using "into" seems redundant.

thegooseking wrote:
Another example would be "he fell in the water" versus "he fell into the water". Both of these sound perfectly natural, but there is a subtle difference in what either of the sentences is saying. "He fell in the water" would probably place emphasis on the fact that he fell, with "in the water" just being extra description. What's salient about "He fell into the water," on the other hand, is more likely that he ended up in the water (i.e. moved from being out of the water to in the water), with the verb 'fell' just being a description of how he got there.


"Fell in the water" contains the meaning that he was already in the water when he fell down--although many native speakers use in vs. into very imprecisely. "Fell into the water" means he was high and dry when he took the plunge and got wet.
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:17 pm Reply with quote
thegooseking
 
Joined: 10 Sep 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland


Bloomer wrote:
It has to do with the verb. Check out etymonline: from L. in- "into" + mergere "plunge, dip" where the meaning of "immerse" already has the sense of "in/to" contained. Using "into" seems redundant.


That's possibly true. My argument doesn't really hold (forgive me) water, because 'into' can be used for a change of state, e.g. "She turned me into a newt (I got better)". Although 'turning' in another sense does describe movement...

Bloomer wrote:
"Fell in the water" contains the meaning that he was already in the water when he fell down--although many native speakers use in vs. into very imprecisely.


I'm going to go with calling that one "of ambiguous semantics". That is a sense I hadn't considered, but I don't believe it's incorrect to use that sentence if he wasn't in the water in the first place. You're right that it's imprecise - it is clearer to use 'into', because 'in' is ambiguous - but I don't think it's ungrammatical, and I think what I said about the subtle difference in emphasis does hold.

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Here's to precision!
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:41 pm Reply with quote
Bloomer
 
Joined: 23 Oct 2008
Posts: 136
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA


And all we can do is go about trying to make our fellow speakers preciser speakers (if they listen). :-)
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Which would you say?
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